In the modern digital world, more and more organizations are trying to democratize technology by removing barriers to access enterprise data. Low code/ No Code platforms have opened up new avenues leading to the rise of citizen developers. Microsoft Power Platform is one such platform that has revolutionized the way organizations build, automate, and analyse business data and apps. Comprising Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, Power Virtual Agents and Power Pages this suite of tools empowers business users to create custom applications, automate workflows, visualize data, and build chatbots, all with minimal coding expertise.
While the democratization of technology is a commendable goal, it has resulted in an app explosion. With such rapid changes, organizations face challenges in managing the chaos that comes with it. In this article, we will explore why governance in Power Platform is imperative for organizations to maintain control, ensure compliance, and drive long-term success.
The Perils of Uncontrolled Proliferation
Fragmentation: Various departments may independently develop solutions, leading to a fragmented landscape of applications and workflows. This can result in disconnected systems and siloed data, hindering collaboration and data-driven decision-making.
Data Security Risks: The Power Platform inherently involves data collection and processing. Without governance, there's a higher risk of data security breaches and mishandling of sensitive information.
Compliance Concerns: Regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, and others impose stringent requirements on data handling and non-adherence could result in fines. Proper governance helps organizations ensure compliance by defining data access controls and monitoring data usage.
Cost Overruns: Uncontrolled creation and deployment of solutions can lead to spiralling costs. Unused or inefficiently designed apps and workflows can consume resources without delivering equivalent value.
The Pillars of Governance in Power Platform
Control and Consistency: Governance mechanisms establish rules and standards for app development, data access, and usage. They define who can create, modify, and deploy solutions, ensuring consistency in application design and user experience. This control safeguards the organization's interests and fosters collaboration.
Security and Compliance: Governance defines who can access sensitive data, create connections to external services, and share apps or dashboards. By monitoring usage and enforcing security controls, organizations can minimize risks and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
Cost Management: Governance enables organizations to track resource consumption, establish usage quotas, and optimize solutions to reduce unnecessary expenditures. It encourages efficient development and responsible resource usage.
Scalability and Sustainability: Sustainable practices are essential for long-term success. Governance enforces development standards and best practices, ensuring that solutions are designed with scalability in mind. This sustainability prevents solutions from becoming obsolete or requiring constant rework as business needs evolve.
The Role of Governance Team
Implementing governance in the Power Platform is not a one-time task but an ongoing effort. Organizations often designate the governance team responsible for establishing and enforcing governance policies. This team should collaborate with business units to strike a balance between enabling innovation and maintaining control.
Policy Development: Create policies and guidelines that align with the organization's goals and regulatory requirements. These policies cover aspects like app development, data access, sharing, and security.
Education and Training: Ensuring that all users are aware of governance policies and understand their importance is vital. Champions organize training sessions and provide resources to educate users about best practices.
Monitoring and Enforcement: Regularly monitoring platform usage is essential to detect policy violations or areas needing improvement. Governance champions oversee this monitoring and take corrective actions when necessary.
Adaptation and Evolution: The technology landscape is constantly evolving. Governance champions stay abreast of changes and adapt governance policies and practices accordingly to meet evolving needs.
Some of the best practices that could help in getting the governance journey started are listed below.
Ownership model for environments: Assign your administrators in Power Platform and restrict the creation of new environments to only these administrators. Establish a process where access is granted based on approvals.
Set up data loss prevention (DLP) policies: Acts as guardrails to help prevent users from unintentionally exposing organizational data. DLP policies can be created at the tenant level or at the environment level and can be managed from the Power Platform admin center.
Leverage Logs & Analytics: Use the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center to access full logs and audit records that will provide you with a full account of users, activities, and timelines. You can also use Power Platform Admin center for accessing full logs around API calls and performance within your Dataverse environment.
Center of Excellence: To establish governance, Microsoft offers a COE starter kit that will help organizations to simplify operations in Power platform which is a collection of templatized best practices. Creating a COE team that is dedicated for Power platform will help in setting up common design patterns and practices and provide advanced end-user training.
The Microsoft Power Platform offers incredible capabilities to organizations seeking to innovate and streamline their processes. However, this transformation must be tempered with responsible governance. Governance in Power Platform is not about stifling creativity but about ensuring control, security, compliance, and cost-effectiveness. it's about providing a structured framework to unleash the platform's full potential while safeguarding the organization's interests. As organizations increasingly rely on the Power Platform for digital transformation, implementing robust governance measures becomes not just a good idea, but an imperative for success in the modern business landscape.